Cherished music fest in danger of having to seek out new digs

Organizers of a long-running music festival held each year on San Francisco-owned land near Yosemite say they may have to pull up stakes and move next year if they can’t soon finalize a lease with The City.

The Strawberry Music Festival, with concerts featuring acoustic music acts each Memorial and Labor Day weekend, has called Camp Mather its home for 26 years, according to general manager Theresa Gluzinski.

Although a renewed lease was due last November, festival organizers say they’ve been told by Recreation and Park Department officials that an agreement might not be approved until August, and then only if “outstanding issues” — which have not been clarified — can be resolved.

“We’re in a pretty frightening place in terms of the stability of our business,” Gluzinski said. “Our first choice is to stay at Camp Mather … but we can’t wait until August to figure out where we’re going to be next year.”

San Francisco has owned Camp Mather since the 1920s and hosts 6,000 to 7,000 families at its campsites each year, according to Recreation and Park spokeswoman Rose Dennis. The Strawberry Music Festival is the camp’s only major event, and recreation staff are working to keep it there, she said.

Under the prior lease, which allows Strawberry Music to hold festivals at the property through this Labor Day, organizers paid San Francisco $160,000 per year, Gluzinski said. Under the new lease, Strawberry Music would pay $189,200 per year in 2009, and tack on an additional $30,000 per year for five years, according to Dennis.

Festival organizers have already examined several other sites, including other properties in Tuolomne County and nearby Mariposa County.

In addition to being a fiscal loss for San Francisco, if Strawberry Music Festival moved, it would be “devastating” for nearby businesses who rely on summer concerts, according to Nancy Sikes, executive director of the Tuolomne County Visitors Bureau.

bwinegarner@sfexaminer.com

Just Posted

Danielle Baskin, right, and friends hung a Halloween store banner on the sign of a mostly empty tech campus on Monday as a prank. (Photo courtesy Vincent Woo)
‘BOOgle!’ Pranksers wrap Google’s SF office park in ‘Spirit Halloween’ signage

The goof says it all about The City’s empty tech campuses

Alison Collins, a member of the San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education, listens during a board meeting. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Alison Collins speaks: Embattled SF school board member confronts the recall effort

‘It’s important for folks to know what this recall is about. It’s bigger than any one of us.’

Passengers board a BART train at Powell Street station on Friday, Oct. 23, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Powell Station death serves as a grim reminder. BART doors don’t stop for anyone

What you need to know about safety sensors on the trains

Is the Black Cat affair a distraction from the recovery of The City’s storied nightlife industry or does Mayor Breed’s behavior inadvertently highlight the predicament the industry’s been in since San Francisco reinstated indoor mask requirements on Aug. 20? (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner, 2021)
Mayor Breed mask controversy highlights nightlife businesses’ plight

‘It’s what all the venues and bars are living every single day’

If he secured a full term in the Senate, Newsom would become the most powerful Californian Democrat since Phil Burton at the height of his career, or maybe ever. <ins>(Kevin Hume/The Examiner)</ins>

Most Read